In Through divorce to extreme happiness, interviewee Kristen shared how she’d found a new partner after her divorce but hasn’t introduced him yet to her two young daughters. Our current interviewee, T, also has a new beau – she refers to him as Rascal and often mentions him her blog, the Quest for T. T’s daughters at eight and four are older than Kristen’s and T recently introduced them to Rascal. I asked her how it went.
That was scary for me. It was frightening because they also met the last gentleman I was dating. He went off to war and when he came back from Iraq, he was suffering from major post-traumatic stress disorder. We don’t even speak now. The girls would ask about him and I felt bad but I had to explain to them, ‘The war kind of messed with him and he chooses not to be my friend.’
I’m disappointed we don’t speak – I thought that surely if I can still be in contact with my ex, I could survive dating someone. But that’s OK. He was around me for a particular reason and I enjoyed him being around.
I try not to show any regret or remorse but my oldest daughter is very clued into me – she can tell when I’m sad and she could tell when I would miss him.
Having them meet Rascal scared me because I’m having a difficult time with it – part of me thinks that as children, they need to know that people are going to come and go in your life. I don’t know of a better lesson than to learn of the impermanence of things.
By introducing them to Soldier and to Rascal, I’m able to teach them that people come into your life, some stay and some don’t; you take what’s good and you leave the rest behind. At the same time though, I am trying to protect them from hurt too.
I don’t know how this relationship is going to work out but so far it’s wonderful. And I love that my girls love him and he’s very comfortable with me being around his children. He’s got a really good relationship with his ex and so we’re both very much of the same idea that it is possible to be friends with your ex and not hold resentment.
My oldest daughter is very curious whenever he’s around – ‘Do you kiss?’ and I’m like, ‘You’re eight! You don’t need to be asking mommy these questions.’ However, I do want my daughters to see that there’s good men out there and I want them to see a good example of some healthy relationships with men.
I haven’t dated anyone yet since my divorce so I haven’t had to deal with this question. When I do, I’ll be interested in my daughter’s reaction – she gets very attached to people and then when she has to say goodbye, she’s is so upset – floods of tears. The first time this happened, it was with her ski instructor at Copper Mountain in Colorado – she was about five then. At the end of the last lesson, we said goodbye to him and she was crying. A couple of hours later, we returned her ski equipment and he was at the shop. Well that set her off again for another couple of hours – ‘Mom, I’m never going to see him again,’ she wailed. Finally, she fell asleep but next morning, as we were leaving Copper, she was off again. Heaven help us all when breaks up with her first boyfriend.